Oakland, CA – The A’s turned things around from their loss last night. They used small ball to even the series and maintain their first place spot in the division. A team not known for knocking home runs out of the ball park did the opposite to outwit their opponents.
“Your trying to get a guy out of rhythm a little bit early on,” said Oakland’s manager Bob Melvin on using bunts to get on base. “And then in the end your trying to get a run because that’s all we had was the first three runs.”
The A’s 4-2 victory over the Rangers came off two bunts, a single and a home run all in the first frame. Coco Crisp leadoff the game with a bunt, followed by Eric Sogard’s sacrifice bunt to move Crisp to second base.
Jed Lowrie, the next batter up hit an RBI single to set up Yoenis Cespedes two-run homer to left field for an early 3-0 lead. Texas righty Matt Garza hadn’t given up a single run in the first inning before today and wasn’t too pleased with Oakland’s strategy of getting on base.
“That showed me they’re going to play small ball against me,” Garza said. “The next time I’ll be ready.”
Matt didn’t do a good job of hiding his emotions after Sogard’s bunt. But for the A’s a win was their only concern after they snapped a three-game losing streak and extended their lead to 3 1/2 games over the Rangers in the American League West.
“I couldn’t really make out what he was saying,” said Eric. “But he yelled at me for sure. We scored a run and anytime that happens, he’s not going to be happy.”
Jarrod Parker who didn’t have his best stuff, lasted six innings, fanning six, yielding two, walked two and surrendered one home run. His pitch count escalated quickly, he gave up his first home run since July 6 and he found himself getting out of a few jams.
“I felt like it was very important that he got us through the sixth and he battled through today without his best stuff,” Melvin said. “He kept his composure and made big pitches when he had to.”
Parker gave up two free pass to both Leonys Martin and Elvis Andrus back-to-back in the third. He struck out the next batter but gave up a RBI single to Adrian Beltre to put the Rangers on the board. In the fourth he gave two back-to-back singles but was able to strikeout the next batter to end Texas rally.
“I went back to my change-ups and started throwing some strikes to minimize some of those situations,” said Jarrod on being able to get out of those two innings. “Obviously your fortunate when you don’t give up anything and just keep battling, not get to down on yourself while giving up a couple of hits at the sometime.”
The Rangers were the team that couldn’t capitalize off the opportunities they had last night. Oakland’s defense was more intact today and allowed Texas one more run which was Ian Kinsler solo home run in the fifth.
“We had some chances, but you can’t cash them all in,” said Rangers manager Ron Washington.
The A’s added one more run to seal their victory off Garza in the seventh and it too was another sacrifice bunt. Matt leadoff the frame by walking Alberto Callaspo, his only walk in his complete game. Stephen Vogt bunted him to second and Coco lined a single to right field moving both runners up. That brought up Sogard who bunted in the next run.
“It worked out, obviously,” Eric said. “I think it’s kind of no secret Garza has some trouble throwing to first sometimes, so we wanted to try to take advantage of that. Coco laid down a good single and I came up and put it where I wanted it to go, got the job done.”